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Western Canadian Lottery

Lotto 636State lotteries, wherein resulting funds were used for the common good, have existed for hundreds of years. In the modern era, however, gambling was illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada until 1892, when an amendment allowed the practice.

By 1910, games were legally permitted on the condition that profits be distributed to either charitable or religious causes. Charity bingos and raffles grew increasingly popular in this more accepting climate.

Regadless, the first "Western Canada Lottery" (WCL) was not started until 1974. The Edmonton Exhibition Association partnered with the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede to offer the lottery. As a consequence, each had to give up any individual sweepstakes they were operating for their own benefit. Funds generated through the common lottery were split between the partners, as well as donated to the Commonwealth Games Foundation.

The two exhibitions were permitted to use proceeds only on projects designed to benefit the community. The AgriCom, for example, was funded in part through the Western Canada Lottery on the promise that the facility would be used for the greater good.

Although the WCL could promise better odds than those offered through a national lottery, the game was not an immediate success. Its first few years were a time of discovery concerning which kinds of tickets were of the greatest interest. The game eventually grew into a significant revenue generator and proceeds from it continued to be used on improvement projects.

In 1995, all provincial gaming activities, with the exception of racing, were brought under the management of the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission. Their revenues were then funneled into the Alberta Lottery Fund for redistribution, even as they are today.

The Western Canada Lottery, governed by the Western Canada Lottery Corporation (WCLC), is now a provincial entity from which Northlands draws funds as one of many beneficiaries. The organization is given a slice of the province’s billion-dollar lottery redistribution pie, in part out of recognition for its pivotal role in creating the Western Lottery. Northlands Park also shares credit for the social gains made through the game’s current success.

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Canadian Lottery


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